Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Hypocrisy at the Center of the Christian Right’s Persecution Complex

I write frequently - some might think too frequently - on religion, but in today's politics in America, the Christofascists and their simpering, pander political whores in the Republican Party taint much of the landscape and stand behind so many of the failed policies that harm America in the long run and do injury to so many Americans, be it denial of health care insurance to continued hate and discord based on toxic religious belief.  Despite the harm the do to others, it is the Christofascists who claim that they face persecution.  A piece in Salon looks at the hypocrisy that lies at the center of this persecution myth.  Here are excerpts:
It’s been interesting to witness the public conversation going on among religious conservatives in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage last week. As Derek Penwell, a progressive Christian minister from Kentucky puts it, the gist of it all sounds something like this:
“The time has come to prepare ourselves for persecution. Our identity has put us at odds with the culture, which is now going to do everything in its power to punish us. Our commitment to living authentically is going to cost us — perhaps everything — because we refuse to compromise what we believe to be the truth. The dominant voices in our culture hate us, and will stop at nothing to eliminate us. Our jobs, our families, even our lives are now in jeopardy because of who we are.”
We’re not in a post-Christian culture yet. Not as long as outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh keep reaching millions of viewers, and Congress is nearly 92 percent Christian. Though I believe it will eventually happen, I certainly don’t think it will happen in my lifetime . . . 

This cry of persecution rings hollow, though, because in other areas of life religious conservatives seem to be fine with this kind of dog-eat-dog world.  . . . . religious conservatives should be consistent if they want to be taken seriously. Religious beliefs are part of the marketplace of ideas, and the market is decidedly dog-eat-dog. As Salon writer Matt Pulver describes it: “Mom and pops close, medium-sized firms close, automakers go bankrupt—that’s how capitalism works. That’s what the competitive market makes: a vast, bloody battlefield of losers laid out behind the much fewer winners…Everyone competed and most businesses lost, they closed. That’s the market.”

[I]f you believe that the Judeo-Christian God thinks homosexuals are deviant or disgusting and wants to punish them in this world as well as the next, then you should be shunned. In the marketplace of ideas, when consumers don’t want to buy what a company is selling, they “persecute” them by shunning their product. Society isn’t buying what you’re selling. The fear you feel is a result of your identity being wrapped up in your religious beliefs, so that a public rebuke on them is a rebuke on you. But that just means that now is a time for soul-searching, a time to decide who you want to be in an increasingly pluralistic society.

Religious conservatives have been vilifying gay people in this country for decades. So Christians aren’t in retreat, it’s just that the playing field has come closer to being leveled.

Except we’re not quite there yet, because religious conservatives have gone beyond disparaging the character of homosexuals — they’ve disparaged their rights as human beings, backed by the force of the State. A religious conservative can go on vilifying homosexuals if they want — the government has not taken away that right — but what they can’t do is deny them their equal rights, which in this case is the right to have their marriage recognized as legitimate.  

If you believe homosexuality is a sin, then don’t engage in those acts — don’t be like the many anti-gay “values” politicians who themselves turned out to be gay. I mean, it’s a choice, right? If you believe that having sex before marriage and children out of wedlock are sins, don’t lecture others like Bristol Palin does, and don’t have sex or children before you get married. If you believe pedophilia is a horrific sin, then don’t molest young children (even if they’re your family members) like Josh Duggar did, or that Dennis Hastert is alleged to have done.

1 comment:

EdA said...

"A religious conservative can go on vilifying homosexuals if they want — the government has not taken away that right — but what they can’t do is deny them their equal rights, which in this case is the right to have their marriage recognized as legitimate."

Nor does "religious liberty" give practitioners whose religious beliefs preclude holding RELIGIOUS ceremonies for some people the right to prevent people of other beliefs, or of no belief, or of the same iodiosyncratic theologies from holding ceremonies that are civilly and religiously recognized marriages. Otherwise, Newt Gingrich, Robert Barr, Clarence Thomas, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan, etc. would have been cohabitating civilly in sin as violators, broadly, of Catholic theology.